Des Moines, Iowa — Since 1971, the lives of one million Iowans have been made immeasurably better through Title X, a historic public health partnership between the federal government and Planned Parenthood. The Trump-Pence administration is now ending this partnership by imposing an unconscionable gag rule on providers in the Title X program. We refuse to let this administration bully us into withholding abortion information from our patients. It is fundamentally unethical for providers to keep information from patients about all their health care options and we won’t do it. We at Planned Parenthood will never back down from giving our patients the full range of information about all their health care options—which is exactly what the Trump administration’s gag rule on Title X would force us to do.
Since July, Planned Parenthood and allies like the American Medical Association have had an emergency motion pending at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, asking the court to reconsider its original decision and provide relief to stop the gag rule. Today, Planned Parenthood sent the court a letter notifying them of the fact that we will be forced to withdraw from the program on the deadline of August 19th, 2019 if that relief is not granted.
Unless the court intervenes, the Trump-Pence administration’s gag rule will destroy the nation’s decades-old program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care—risking access to birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment for millions of people struggling to make ends meet, including 13,819 here in Iowa.
The Trump-Pence administration is targeting providers like Planned Parenthood in an attempt to end women’s access to birth control and dismantle the reproductive freedom that Americans have come to value over the past fifty years of the Title X program. They are trying to force qualified, expert health care providers out of our nation’s program for affordable birth control—providing grants instead to anti-abortion groups that don’t even offer birth control.
Quote from Erin Davison-Rippey, Iowa State Director of Planned Parenthood North Central States:
“Planned Parenthood will do everything we can to ensure our patients can still get the expert reproductive health care they need in Iowa. Thanks to the broad public support Planned Parenthood has, our doors are open today, and they will remain open tomorrow. But, make no mistake—this situation is a sober reminder of why we desperately need a change in leadership in the White House and why it is more important than ever for Congress and state elected officials to stand up and protect affordable birth control.”
Title X Background
Title X (ten), passed by Congress in 1970, is the only federal grant program dedicated to funding comprehensive family planning services for Americans with low incomes. Title X funds serve people who can’t afford usual doctor’s appointments. For many people, these health centers are their only source of health care. 13,819 patients received Title X support in Iowa in 2018.
Title X provides a range of essential preventive health services including contraception, STD testing and treatment, HIV testing, and breast and cervical cancer screenings. Since the beginning of Title X, health centers that provide abortions, like Planned Parenthood, were able to get funding but were prohibited from using those funds to subsidize or pay for abortions. No Title X funds have every been used for abortion services.
In Iowa, Planned Parenthood will no longer be able to use Title X funds to care for patients at our health centers in Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Iowa City, and Urbandale. Following the loss of Title X funding, a sliding fee scale will be offered to patients based on income and Planned Parenthood will continue to help patients enroll in health coverage they may be eligible for.